Who is your writing champion?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

From the Joy desk

Hi, sweet reader!

This is our moment. Yours and mine. And as my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Mary Young, was very fond of repeating, “You can’t get this moment back, so don’t waste it.”

Many years later, I think about Mrs. Young using this call-to-action to teach eleven-year-olds the value of time. I believed and followed everything Mrs. Young said. She was the first teacher to encourage my writing and tell me that I could and should follow the path of a writer. Even though she knew that I was the heir apparent to my mother’s thriving ballet school, (Mrs. Young’s granddaughter took ballet from my mother,) Mrs. Young let me know that I was a writer. She was also the first person to impress the importance and meaning of a deadline. She is why I became a writer, got a journalism degree, and have pursued the craft and publishing for fifty (yep) years.

The point of this vignette is that everyone must have a champion, someone who sees their potential and supports them in every way, even when the going is tough, and the champion falls off the horse. Who is that person for you? Who first voiced, “You can do this” convincingly enough to motivate you to pursue it? This person is due your thanks.

I often thank Mrs. Young in my journal and sometimes I complain to her that being an author isn’t a piece of cake. Those are the moments when I’ve fallen off the horse and am looking up from the dirt searching for someone to blame. That’s when the query letter doesn’t hit the mark. When a reviewer says something less than adoring (they’re allowed, but it still stings.) Simply dumping my frustrations into the journal helps clear away the doubt, and I’m able to remind myself that writing and teaching it is what I do. I get up, dust off my cheeks, get back into the office chair, and start typing or researching or whatever again. It’s what I do.

I write, publish, and teach to reach out, to connect with other people. Thanks to Mrs. Young, I have the belief (not always the confidence because I’m just human) that my words and ideas may help someone else.

This support notion applies to everything, every field, and every person. Who first pointed out that you make a fabulous fill-in-the-blank and drove you to be better at it? Send this wonderful soul an unsent letter of thanks by writing to them in your journal. Unsend the letter. Keep it in your journal, unless you want to send it in some way-message in a bottle, email, snail mail. It’s all good.

All good things,

Joy

Women with clean houses do not have finished books.

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Online Workshop: Writer Wellness

“Be well, write well.”

WRITER WELLNESS ONLINE WORKSHOP

STARTS: Monday, October 4

ENDS: Friday, October 29

COST: $29.00

DETAILS: Lessons, activities, and discussion covering the five key WW concepts

*Journaling

*Fitness

*Relaxation

*Nutrition

*Creative play

Taught in private Groups.io forum

12 lessons

REGISTER: Email writerwellness at gmail dot com

WRITER WELLNESS & FIVE THINGS FOR YOUR WRITING

By Joy E. Held

The idea for my book and workshop Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity (Headline Books, Inc., 2020) came to me when some of my critique partners asked how they could be my clones. They wanted to shadow me for a week to see what I did every day that led to my prolific publishing (over 500 articles and counting,) life as a homeschooling mom, and part-time hatha yoga teacher. Up to that point, I hadn’t done any self-examination of my processes, but when they asked, I stepped back and watched myself for a month while documenting my doings and beings in a journal. This article is a peek into what I learned.

Please take out a pen and paper (or your phone or computer) and list five things you’ve done in the last thirty days to promote/support your writing.

Now list five challenges or obstacles that you believe are standing in the way of accomplishing your writing goals.

Next, list five writing wishes or desires you want to come true.

Following the Writer Wellness plan will help you to always have five things on those lists.  It will also allow you to maintain a level of health and creativity that some writers are missing.

Are you happy with your writing in general?

Are you happy with your health?

Do you ever notice a direct relationship to the productivity and quality of your writing and quality of your life?

A physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy individual is by far a more productive, creative, and pleasant person.  This is evidenced by the fact that many corporations have implemented programs to keep employees happy and healthy.  Programs range from day care centers in the workplace to personal trainers for every ten employees.  A healthy, happy employee is more productive, misses less work, and is a more cost-effective employee.

As a writer, you are the employer and the employed.  Happiness, productivity, and health are definite factors in the quality of work you produce.  It is therefore in your best interest as a writer to do everything you can to stay healthy and be the best writer you can be.

But where are you supposed to get the time?  Let’s not jump ahead of ourselves to the time factor.  Hopefully, you will instinctively see that working these ideas into your life will make positive use of your time while adding to the quality of your life and the productivity of your work.

The whole premise of Writer Wellness is that creativity and productivity are crucially dependent upon an overall quality of life.  This includes the physical, mental, emotional, communal, and spiritual aspects of life.

To serve the purposes of Writer Wellness, I’ve broken down a writer’s quality of life into five interdependent components necessary to sustain a healthful, creative life. 

The five key concepts of Writer Wellness are JOURNALING, EXERCISE, RELAXATION, PROPER NUTRITION, AND CREATIVE PLAY.  These areas contribute to an overall wellness way of living and working.

I was raised in my mother’s dancing school.  Before she retired after 52 years, she kept the books, wrote the grants and publicity announcements, directed weekly rehearsals, and taught five ballet classes a week. Thanks to her excellent example, the principles of physical fitness and eating right were pounded into me from an early age.  At age fourteen, I began the Writer Wellness life (even though I hadn’t labeled it yet,) when a local newspaper carried a weekly column I wrote about my junior high school.  I saw my name in print.  I was hooked. From then on, I was a dancer and a writer. 

I discovered yoga, meditation, and modern dance in college, and everything fell into place for me.  Thirty plus years later, I still journal almost daily unless I’m working intensely on a writing project, exercise five to six times a week, follow a strict eating plan with supplements, practice daily meditation, and engage in creative play through art journaling, crafting, and scrapbooking.

When other writers in my critique group asked me how I published so much, I reviewed my life and named the process “Writer Wellness.”  Now I teach other writers the basic principles and encourage them to find their own versions of the five concepts.

Today I maintain myself as a writer by incorporating each of the five key concepts of Writer Wellness into my day. Depending on obligations and scheduling, I’m able to journal, exercise, follow a prescribed food program, and meditate seven days a week. The creative play happens more on the weekends when I’m not writing, editing, promoting, or teaching online. I have two new book releases in 2020,  a two-book contract with an independent publisher, teach college English composition online, teach hatha yoga three times a week, and run online workshops for various writing associations. I’m also on the board of directors for my RWA chapters.

You can do this as well.

Looking back to the lists of five things you made at the beginning of this article, make a pact with yourself to create a new way of life that will support your goals as a writer and a healthy, productive person. My book and workshop will show you the way so that you’ll always have five things done every month to help you live the writing dream.

The workshop I’m leading October 4-29, 2021 is a detailed look at the five key concepts of Writer Wellness and an exploration of how you can incorporate the practice into your life. With Writer Wellness as the foundation, you can achieve the writing dreams and personal goals you desire.

Be well, write well. See you in workshop!

All good things,

Joy

WRITER WELLNESS ONLINE WORKSHOP

STARTS: Monday, October 4

ENDS: Friday, October 29

COST: $29.00

DETAILS: Lessons, activities, and discussion covering the five key WW concepts

*Journaling

*Fitness

*Relaxation

*Nutrition

*Creative play

Taught in private Groups.io forum

12 lessons

REGISTER: Email writerwellness at gmail dot com

Change your writing life for the better with this online workshop

Imagine being a creative, healthy, writing machine 365 days a year. Regardless of your genre, the tips in my online workshop Writer Wellness: A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity will guide you to realizing your potential as a creative person.

I have been sustaining good health and mountains of creative energy for many years by following this program, and I can help you learn the tricks then customize the program to suit your needs.

Writer Wellness centers around five fundamental practices:

  • Journaling
  • Physical exercise
  • Relaxation/meditation
  • Sound nutritional choices
  • Creative play

These components are already helping hundreds of past students who learned the particulars then organized each one around their needs and lifestyles. You can do this as well!

For the first time ever, I’m leading small-group online workshops that include all of the following:

  • Private online forum in Groups.io
  • Self-paced lessons (12)
  • Live chats (weekly)
  • Discussions (online)
  • 24/7 access to the course and
  • One-year access to the online content
  • Print copy of the book* (signed 😊)
  • Bookmark
  • Membership in a private “graduates” forum when you finish the program
  • AND
  • Personal one-on-one 30-minute coaching session via Zoom with me at the conclusion of the course!

There are strict start dates for the upcoming Fall 2021 sessions. The next workshop begins on

13 September 2021

When you sign up, you’ll receive full access on the start date to the course content to read at your convenience. The workshop runs for four weeks with new lessons and suggested activities posted three times a week in one of the main areas (journaling, exercise, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play.)

This workshop has never been available to the public until now. Only private writing organizations and their members have experienced this course.

The special introductory price is $97.00 which covers the online course, a print copy of the companion book, everything listed above, and the private coaching session!

Registration is limited to 15 persons, and you can register by contacting me at writerwellness at gmail dot com. You will receive a response from me with instructions on how to pay for the course.

The price will go up after this session! Alert your creative friends.

It’s more important than ever to maintain sound physical, mental, and emotional health so that you can reap the rewards of good health and being able to write the stories you want to share with the world.

From the beginning of time, stories have served to bind us together. Your story matters. Tell it. But if you don’t feel good or your health isn’t what it should be, you don’t feel like putting words on the page. Writer Wellness is an individualized approach to keeping you happy, healthy, and creatively productive.

If you have any questions, send an email to writerwellness at gmail dot com, and I’ll respond as quickly as possible.

I look forward to opening the door to your better life and awesome writing.

Be well, write well,

Joy

P.S. This offer expires on Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Please register before that date and feel free to share this offer with friends.

*Currently available to ship in the continental US only.

https://headlinebooks.com/product/writer-wellness-a-writers-path-to-health-and-creativity/

Jokes Only Writers Can Love

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Jokes Only Writers Can Love

Some days it’s funnier to be a writer than others. And writers are famous for thinking something is funny when other people don’t see the humor. For instance, we get a giggle out of misspelled words on business signs. We think running out of ink while printing off a query letter is paramount to disaster, and we think the telephone is a torture device meant to keep us from ever having a thought without interruption. And psychoanalyst is another word for the jealous critique partner. So on those days, it’s convenient to have a writerly joke to lighten the mood.

***

Three guys are sitting at a bar-

Guy#1 “Yeah, I make about $75,000.00 a year after taxes.”

Guy#2 “What do you do for a living?”

#1 “I’m a stockbroker. How much do you make?”

#2 “I should clear $60,000.00 this year.”

#1 “What do you do?”

#2 “I’m an architect.”

They turn to the third guy sitting quietly, staring into his beer.

#2 “Hey, how much do you make a year?”

#3 “Gee, ummm, I guess about $13,000.00.”

#1 “Oh, yeah? What kind of stories do you write?”

^^^^^^

A screenwriter comes home to find his house burned to the ground and his wife in the yard sobbing.

“What happened, honey?” the man asked.

“Oh, John, it was terrible,” she said while crying.”I was cooking and the phone rang. It was your agent. Because I was on the phone I didn’t notice the stove was on fire. It went up in seconds. Everything is gone. I nearly didn’t make it out. Poor Fluffy is…”

“Wait. Wait. Back up a minute,” the screenwriter says. “My agent called?”

######

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row on row of writers chained to their desks working in a steamy sweatshop while being whipped with thorny lashes.

“Oh, my,” said the writer. “Let’s see heaven now.”

In heaven she saw row on row of writers chained to their desks working in a steamy sweatshop while being whipped with thorny lashes.

“Wait a minute,” she said. “This is as bad as hell.”

“Oh, no it’s not,” said a booming voice. “Here your work gets published.”

*****

How many romance writers does it take to change a light bulb?

Just one: “He grasped the round, cool shape of the tantalizing bulb between his fingers and squeezed ever so gently then expertly guided the tip into the waiting socket. He felt the connection and slowly began a mind-blowing twist of the bulb until it settled into the perfect place. And they both knew the satisfaction of ……

Well, you get the idea.

~~~~~

Personally, my idea of Hell is being someplace without paper and something to write with or having both and my hands are tied!

Have a writer giggle to share that’s suitable for mixed genres and ages?

Be well, write well.

~hugs,

Joy

JoyHeldHeadshot3

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Relaxation/meditation, creative play, fitness and exercise, journaling, and nutrition.

Joy E. Held is the author of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity, a college educator, blogger, and yoga/meditation teacher. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Romance Writers Report, Dance Teacher Now, Yoga Journal, and Woman Engineer Magazine.

Photo: K. Held

Photo by Riley McCullough on Unsplash

Copyright 2018, Joy E. Held

GUEST POST: There Is Enough-For Everyone

Welcome KATHERINE DOWN, a fellow student at Seton Hill University. Katherine realized an uplifting moment during the recent January  2017 MFA residency. It falls right in line with the positivity ideal of Writer Wellness.

“There is Enough — For Everyone”

By: Katharine Dow

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Bookstores are my favorite places in the world. Inside each new book is the promise of adventure, magic, and wonder. To quote C.S. Lewis, “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

However, there are days when I blink, and the beauty of endless possibility disappears. Instead of a sacred space, the bookstore transforms into a nightmare in which the cacophony of millions of words written by superior writers drowns out my small, humble contribution to Story. In those moments, I remember the devastating suicide note in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, “Done, because we are too menny.” In those moments, I feel that there are too many books in the world for my books to matter, and I am a fool to try.

During a recent class on Emotion, taught by Maria Snyder at Seton Hill University’s MFA in Popular Fiction Program, we were asked to write down a list of our protagonists greatest fears. As I created my list, I realized that the root cause of each of my protagonist’s fears is the belief that there is only so much good in the world, life is a zero-sum game, and that if she doesn’t achieve the goal, her future is grim.

I realized in that class that I have a choice. I can believe, as my protagonist believes for the majority of the book, that the world of story is like a pie, with only so many pieces to be had, and none left for me. Or, I can choose to believe, in the immortal words of the band Midnight Oil, that “there is enough—for everyone.”

According to quantum physics, reality occurs on two levels: possibility and actuality. It suggests that there exists an entire world of possibilities, material as well as in meaning, and in feeling. If so, life is a series of choices and possibilities that are deeply and fundamentally creative. There is no one option. There is no last piece of the pie. It’s a theory we would all do well to embrace.

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Katharine Dow is a global nomad who has lived in eight countries as a student, aid worker, and diplomat. In 2017, she set her passport aside and enrolled in the MFA in Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University, a choice which has become the most unpredictable and challenging adventure of all. You can find her under the twitter handle @suggestionize.

Thanks, Katherine!

Be well, write well.

~hugs,

Joy

JoyHeldHeadshot3

Joy E. Held is the author of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity, a college educator, blogger, and yoga/meditation teacher. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Romance Writers Report, Dance Teacher Now, Yoga Journal, and Woman Engineer Magazine.

Photo: K. Held

Copyright 2018, Joy E. Held

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Creativity Activities To Begin the New Year

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Creativity Activities to Begin the New Year

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the

                intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.

                The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”

                                C.G. Jung

                                Psychiatrist

 

Creativity is effort applied to problem-solving resulting in something that didn’t exist before. Creative play is anything that constructively enlivens your spirit while challenging your mind. While the brain helps organize the materials and the process, the mind/spirit supplies the energy and the daring and the questions necessary to find new answers.

 

Hobbies are also known as creative play. Think you don’t have time for a hobby? Find activities that are creatively productive but that add dimension to your writing as well. However, it is advisable to engage in creative play outside the writing world. Perhaps you will see how writing is connected, even foundational, to all the arts in some way.

 

Creative Play Tips

 

  1. Collage: Spend no more than 3 hours creating a collage from magazine cut-outs that relates to some aspect of your current writing project.
  2. Letters: Write a letter, poem, or journal entry as one of the characters from your current work-in-progress.
  3. Positive Affirmations: Use index cards and create a set of positive affirmation cards for yourself that encourage you to stay on task, finish a certain number pages, send queries, etc. Carry one per day in your pocket.
  4. Scrapbook: Create a scrapbook page about some honor or goal for your writing. Put a picture of yourself writing on the page and state the honor/goal.
  5. Contact me: Write a letter to me.
  6. Connect: Attend a writing conference.
  7. View Art: See a play, art exhibit, or a movie.
  8. Exercise & Write: Take a walk with a small notepad and pen. Stop and make notes about anything that pops into your mind.
  9. Gaming the Old Fashioned Way: Play cards or a board game with family and friends.

10. Color: Color in a coloring book. Draw or paint.

What creative ideas are you planning for the new year?

Be well, write well.

~hugs,

Joy

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Housework Is Not Exercise

Cleaning set photo

“I’m going to clean this dump—just as soon as the kids are grown.”

                ~Erma Bombeck

Erma Bombeck is probably the reason I love being a Mom but hate cleaning. She always wrote about hating housework. I read her in the local paper when I was young and to this day think of her column about changing the toilet paper roll every time I do it. She’s the one who asked many years ago why she was the one person solely responsible for refilling the toilet paper when the house was full of other capable people who could accomplish the chore just fine. But any time she sat down, well, being the only one “in charge” of the changing, sometimes she was caught without. Why didn’t the person who used the last sheet recognize the condition and refill the roll instead of leaving it to her? Bombeck never discovered the answer to my knowledge and neither have I, but I keep extra rolls really close by because it happens all the time. Why me?

Cooking and baking are very spiritual, satisfying activities for me, but I really would rather not have to clean house. I love a clean house, and I’m good at cleaning, but it drains me to the point I have nothing left with which to exercise. And I love exercise. However, I’ve never quite bought into the concept of housework as exercise. The idea is flawed in many ways.

1.Exercise is enjoyable. Cleaning house is not. Who wants to clean hair off the floor behind the toilet for heaven’s sake? The bending required isn’t healthy and neither are the fumes. No physical benefit and no improvement in breathing technique. But I know the gunk is there and eventually I have to swab it out at the expense of my exercise for the day. Ugh.

2.Exercise has recognizable rewards like tone muscles and improved attitude. House cleaning has little if any rewards. I no sooner am dumping the mop water down the drain as a person or a dog is coming in the room with dirty feet or paws. “I just mopped!” is greeted with, “Looks nice, dear.” Grrrrr.

3.Exercise has many success stories. There is no one to my knowledge (if they existed there would be a reality TV show about them) who has lost weight, toned up, and kept off the pounds from cleaning house.

“I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes—and six months later you have to start all over again.”

                ~Joan Rivers

 Household chores must be accomplished, however, and many writers have designed a routine to think about writing projects while folding laundry and mentally working out plot problems while running the vacuum cleaner. But these jobs don’t count as exercise, so it’s off to the gym! Have you achieved fitness by cleaning the house? Prove it!

“Women with clean houses do not have finished books.”

                ~Joy Held

 

“Be well, write well.”

~Joy

Monday Meditation: The Mindful Writer Is A Must Read

Summer is when I tackle the TBR (to be read) pile of books and magazines I’ve accumulated during the school year. My teaching schedule is lighter in the summer and like a lot of writers, I use the summer to catch up on my reading. And go to writing cons!

 

One book in particular has captivated my attention early, and even though I’ve read it twice already (it’s a small book,) I just keep coming back to it. The newest book from creative non-fiction writing professor Dinty W. Moore, THE MINDFUL WRITER, NOBLE TRUTHS OF THE WRITING LIFE, is a pocket-sized treasure full of good stuff I’ve found insightful, thought provoking, and entertaining. This is not a book review, by the way. It’s just a blog about what’s on my mind. And since books in many forms are usually always on my mind (a common writer’s affliction,) I’m tying Moore’s book in with today’s topic of meditation.

 

The Mindful WriterTHE MINDFUL WRITER is a clever weaving together of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths with the writing life. Moore’s inventive perspective has created “The Four Noble Truths For Writers.” But first the Buddha’s list:

1.Life is dukkha (suffering, dissatisfaction.)

2.The cause of dukkha is our desire.

3.It is possible, however, to end this desire.

4.The way to end it is through the Eightfold Path: right views, right aim, right speech, right action, right living, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

 

Moore’s list (abbreviated because I highly recommend this book be read by all writers at any level):

1.The writing life is difficult,…

2.Much of this dissatisfaction comes from…

3.There is a way to lessen the disappointment…

4.The way to accomplish this is to make both the practice of writing and the work…

 

At first glance, many writers might pass over this small epistle in favor of something else more “relevant.” What is more relevant to a writer, or to anyone for that matter, than a manageable size helping of gentle guidance and goodwill written by a writer who knows what we all know. It’s a journey. Wear comfortable shoes and pause every once in a while to savor the moment.

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Cool Gus Publishing, http://www.coolguspublishing.com.

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well.

 

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Copyright Joy Held 2012. All rights reserved.

Monday Meditation: National Library Week 2012

National Library Week, you belong at your library, April 8-14, 2012

“You belong at your library” is an appropriate slogan for this year’s National Library Week celebration. Honestly, go to the library and once you get past the humility of the massive collection of knowledge and ideas all in the same place, look around at everything available to everybody from the casual reader catching up on the daily news to the college professor checking on resources for a class he’s teaching next semester. The point is that EVERYBODY belongs at the library. Everybody, that is, who respects the principle of freedom to access information. Lack of respect for the contents, the people, the equipment, the facilities, or the ideas will get you rightfully tossed out the front door by the gatekeeper known as the Librarian. It’s a tough job monitoring knowledge, keeping it as safe as possible from abuse, staying on top of current information techniques, and exploding technology. But most librarians are fantastic people with a lot on their plates but always willing to help when asked a question. Granted, we’ve all run into the crusty book warden who is a bit ragged around the edges, but the librarian is a jewel and should be treated like the most precious brooch in the collection. After all, she opens the doors everyday and believes in the same thing writers do: knowledge and ideas are only valuable when they are shared.

 

I have soooo many great librarian stories to share that one week isn’t enough. So here is a brevity list of all the ways libraries and librarians have been a great help to my careers as teacher and writer.

 

#A librarian near my hometown helped me access a primary source that inspired my first romance novel. If it weren’t for this particular special collections and this wonderful woman who let me read “The Message to Garcia” by Elbert Hubbard (1899), my novel wouldn’t have the historical accuracies it does.

 

#When my children were young and learning to love reading and writing, a wonderful junior librarian named Brenda made a point to find out what interested them and ordered books year after year that kept them coming back until they moved away for college.

 

#My favorite aunt is a school librarian.

 

#Doug at the college library where I teach never fails to amaze me at how quickly and efficiently he responds to my requests for materials no matter where on Earth they’re located.

 

I’ll save more library/librarian kudos for the rest of the week. What’s your library story?

 

Happy National Library Week 2012. Hug a library every day.

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

 

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

Be well, write well.

Joy E. Held

Thursday Thot: Triumph In Spite It All

Writers wrestle in solitary confinement to create work worthy of distribution to the masses.  We listen to our guts writhe and dare to write down the utterances.  We literally tap into the deepest seams of human components and release the secrets of the spirit in print for everyone to see.  Such creatures would be “pedastalized” in a truly free and creative world.  But we aren’t.

Writers are eccentric.  Writers are different.  You never know where a writer’s mind is even if you are standing in front of her looking into her eyes.  Significant others just get used to it. Even though the whole world relies on some aspect of a writer’s abilities, the writer is sectioned off “to work”, but really to put us where they can keep an eye on us!  Lest we indulge in daydreaming, talking to ourselves, or something worse like the historical bad writer habits of alcohol or drugs. 

Almost everyone knows of Hemingway’s alcohol problems or Poe’s drug abuse.  Why does the world have this negative image of writers?  Because history has a passion for emphasizing the foibles of the greats in an attempt to claim, “He was a great writer in spite of his flaws.” 

Flaws.  Imperfections.  Blemishes.  This is the stuff that makes us individuals, that makes us lovable, that gives writers a different perspective on the world.  A writer’s vantage point is precisely where her voice emanates.  What makes a writer is someone who notices that their voice and their turn of mind come from the same immeasurable place.  When I wrote my first short story in grade school from the outlook of two shoes talking to each other in a dark shoe box, I heard my voice for the first time.  Writers can see, feel, think, smell, and hear the worlds of other people and objects.  It’s what we do.

“I’m a writer.  I use everything,” said Truman Capote.  To truly be a writer, regardless of genre, you must ‘muse’ everything in your world and in your mind to the advantage of your craft.  It’s a task that comes easier for some writers than others.  It’s a question of listening and being open to what you hear.  How can you evolve into the grand writer you desire to be?  By leading a daily life devoted to expanding your body, mind, and spirit in every sense of the word.  By following the way of Writer Wellness.

The idea of Writer Wellness happened to me because of a hectic schedule and the natural instinct to “use everything” around me to create my writing.  When I was expecting my first baby, I published a magazine article about continuing to run a dance studio while pregnant.  When a guest artist taught classes at our local community theatre, I published an article about his career on Broadway.  When my life got wonderfully full of children, a household, work, and writing deadlines, I organized a system that would allow me to listen to my inner and outer worlds and maintain my writing voice.

Writer Wellness is composed of regular practices of journal writing, exercise, relaxation, nutrition, and creative play.  For example, depending on my schedule, my daily journal entry may be three pages long or just the front of an index card.  Exercise is either walking the dog, yoga practice, cardio equipment, or walking.  I ALWAYS find at least five minutes a day to close my eyes and meditate.  The food I eat is simple and grown as locally as possible.

Writer Wellness evolved from a personal habit to a community program and then into a book.  I follow the principles and guide others to do the same.  It’s a simple, developmental approach that any writer can try in any degree.  The results are tumultuous productivity and long term good health.  And triumph over flaws by using what you know as a writer to make your life and writing better.

How did you triumph over some imperfections to become who you are today?

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.

Be well, write well.

Joy E. Held